New Year’s Resolution 5778: Stop and Taste the Honey!

The English word “holiday” does not convey the full idea behind Jewish celebrations and commemorations. And the British term “holiday” as vacation does not help give it any gravitas. The two biblical terms are moed, a declared time, or chag, a cyclical time. They are both related to the idea of declaring a moment in time special or unique, and perhaps revisiting that moment on a rotating basis to appreciate the impact of what is being remembered.  Indeed, the Jewish idea of holiness, from which holiday/holy day may derive, is linked to the notion of making something unique, special, and thereby sacred.

The cyclical holidays, such as Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot, have two themes each- one celebrates parts of the exodus story, and the other the season’s harvest.  Both should make a person pause, remember, and celebrate with thankfulness and appreciation. Shabbat has two themes- the rest ethic after a creation process and the “rest as justice” idea as a part of leaving Egyptian slavery.

So, what could we make of the themes of the declared times of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? Their somber notes about repentance, change for the better, and introspection are important. But, coming as they do at the “head” of the lunar calendar year, they act as a keynote of sorts to the rest of the holiday cycle. As the seasons change, as the leaves turn colors and fall, as students go back to school and workers begin a new budget year, more than we declare these days to be special, these days declare and call out to us to take note. They plead with us to stop, take time, recognize changes both obvious and subtle, and take a deep breath and carry on. And as life becomes inevitably more complex and challenging, we need to stop and taste the honey; remember our blessings, the sweetness in our lives from family, friends and accomplishments.

Here are some ideas for maximizing your holiday time, and “stopping to smell the roses/taste the honey” curtesy of Nisha Moodley. Try them and they may become New Year’s resolutions!

  1. Hold the door for someone. Yes, the person holding the door can take pleasure in this, too. Be patient so they can take their time.
  2. Watch bugs in the grass; It helps if you lie down.
  3. Put lotion on slowly; Feel your hand against your skin; feel your skin against your hand. This is your very own body.
  4. Thank the cashier; Imagine interacting with hundreds of people each day and having next-to-none of them give you the time of day. Be the one who does.
  5. Check out the moon; she governs the Jewish calendar and the cycle of life.
  6. Feel the fabric on your skin. While you walk, notice how your clothing feels against your body, and notice how every brush ‘wakes up’ your skin.
  7. Skip- Even if people watch. Who cares?!
  8. Buy a magazine that you normally wouldn’t. What’s a subject matter that you’ve never explored? Cross-stitch? Motorcycle racing? Interior design? Check out something you know nothing about.
  9. Buy flowers for someone else. Receiving flowers is heartwarming. Giving flowers is a thrill.
  10. Feel the air on your cheeks. It’s quite amazing that your cheeks are absorbing water and oxygen from the air. Feels good, right?
  11. Write a little love note to your Grandma. In as little as 3 sentences, thank her for all of the love, patience and perseverance it took to create your family.
  12. Do a clutter tashlikh- Throw something out (or give it away). Right now, just go grab something that is taking up unnecessary space and get rid of it.
  13. Sign up for a class. What have you been wanting to learn? Take a minute now to sign up for a class.

Here is a baker’s dozen “conversation starters’ you can use to break the ice at family gatherings while avoiding politics or those awkward moments of silence or TMI.

  1. What is the funniest thing you remember about a past fall holiday season?
  2. What unusual traditions did you have around Rosh Hashana?
  3. Name one ancestor that you think about on Yom Kippur and tell us why.
  4. What is one wish you have for the next generation as they begin to establish their own holiday traditions?
  5. If your great-great grandchildren could listen to this years from now, is there any wisdom you’d want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know?
  6. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
  7. How do you want to be remembered?
  8. If you could add two commandments to the existing ten, what would they be?
  9. If you could break one of the commandments, which would it be and why?
  10. Share: Favorite Mother Moment; Favorite Father Moment; Favorite Sibling Moment.
  11. If your house was on fire and you could grab only 3 things before leaving, what would they be?
  12. Name one thing that not many people know about you.
  13. List 1 thing you wish you could change about yourself.

And remember that the most important app to download this season is Appreciation

Look here for High Holiday related Events!
 

Holiday events

Upcoming Events
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Fri
Feb
  23
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
 
Temple Beth Ami
14330 Travilah Road, Rockville MD 20850
Please join us at 7:30 pm for Erev Shabbat Services, with remarks from special guest speaker, Liz Weintraub. Liz has a long history of leadership in self-advocacy and has held many board and advisory positions at state and national organizations. Her work focuses on improving quality of life for people with disabilities. All are invited to an Oneg Shabbat following services.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Seniors, Special Needs, Maryland, Reform, Advocacy, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Feb
  24
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
B'nai Israel Congregation
6301 Montrose Rd, Rockville MD 20852
Members of the Inclusion Committee and individuals with special needs participate in the Shabbat morning service. Our guest speaker will be Lt. Col. (Res.) Tiran Attia, Director of Special in Uniform, an innovative program sponsored by Jewish National Fund that aims to integrate young people with autism and other disabilities into the IDF. After their service, Special in Uniform helps usher its graduates toward a self-sufficient life, through employment or other meaningful societal involvement. ...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Special Needs, Maryland, Conservative, History/Education, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Feb
  24
9:30 AM - 1:00 PM
 
Tikvat Israel Congregation
2200 Baltimore Road, Rockville MD 20851
February is known as Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). Our Inclusion Shabbat will feature “Connecting Cultures” founder Lobna (Luby) Ismail (right) will present thought-provoking ideas connecting her Muslim-American identity and culture alongside living with multiple sclerosis.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Families, Seniors, Special Needs, Maryland, Conservative, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Feb
  24
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
 
Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County (Congregation Beth El Preschool)
8215 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda MD 20814
Celebrate Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) at Congregation Beth El with a special multisensory Havdalah followed by a guest speaker from the Israel Defense Forces Special in Uniform Program, which helps integrate young Israelis with disabilities into the IDF. Families and individuals of all abilities will be able to participate in and enjoy this beautiful prayer experience and moving presentation. Delicious treats will be served. Sponsored by the B’ruchim Habaim and Am Is...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Special Needs, Maryland, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Advocacy, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Israel, Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Sun
Feb
  25
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
 
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
7727 Persimmon Tree Lane, Bethesda MD 20817
Join Adat Shalom for A Colorful Purim! Adat Shalom Youth Group is hosting a Purim Carnival, for children in Pre-K through 6th grade! There will be a moon bounce, face painting, games, prizes, food, and fun!
Listed In:  Families, Maryland, Reconstructionist, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  $10 - $24; $10 for 20 Tickets

 
 
Sun
Feb
  25
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
7727 Persimmon Tree Lane, Bethesda MD 20817
In a somewhat fanciful midrash, the Sages imagine that these three characters who appear elsewhere in Biblical narratives, were members of Pharaoh’s court when the Israelites were enslaved. Faced with the immorality of the Egyptian king’s actions, each reacted in his own way that determined his eventual fate. What do we learn about the rabbinic attitude toward involvement in confrontational politics from this small teaching and the larger lessons behind it? Rabbi Jack Moline is President of Inte...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, Maryland, Reconstructionist, Adult Education, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sun
Feb
  25
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
 
Congregation Beth Emeth
12523 Lawyers Road, Herndon VA 20171
Join in the fun, with activities for all ages. Moon bounce, carnival games, crafts for “kids” of all ages, Vashti’s Shuk one-day gift shop sale, costume contest, raffle for great prizes, kosher lunch, hamentaschen and more. Check out the day's schedule and pre-order all-you-can-play bracelets to avoid the lines at www.bethemeth.org/purim. Special Shpiel and early carnival opening for the pre-school to 1st grade set and their families, starting at 10:45 AM. Start getting your costumes ready NOW! ...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sun
Feb
  25
12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
 
Washington Hebrew Congregation (Julia Bindeman Suburban Center)
11810 Falls Road, Potomac MD 20854
Shannon Sarna will tell you — hamantashen don’t need to be dry or crumbly, nor do they need to be filled with traditional jams and pie fillings. And she should know! Ms. Sarna is the author of the cookbook "Modern Jewish Baker: Challah, Babka, Bagels & More," the editor of the popular Jewish food blog "The Nosher," and a contributing writer on "Kveller." Born to an Italian mother who loved to bake, a Jewish father who loved to experiment, and a food chemist grandfather, loving and experimenting...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, Maryland, Culinary, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Wed
Feb
  28
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
 
Temple Shalom
8401 Grubb Road, Chevy Chase MD 20815
Tot Purim, 5:30 PM Come in costume for a short and developmentally appropriate retelling of the Purim story, eat some hamentaschen, and sing some songs! Pizza and Salad Dinner, 6:15 PM Wizard of Oz Purim, 7:00 PM
Listed In:  Families, Maryland, Reform, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  Free; free

 
 
Wed
Feb
  28
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
 
Hill Havurah
212 East Capitol Street NE, Washington DC 20003
Join us on Erev Purim for a Havurah Purim Party on Wednesday, February 28th! We'll eat, drink, listen to a little megillah, and get a little silly.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Interfaith, Seniors, DC, Non-denominational, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Wed
Feb
  28
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
 
Tikvat Israel Congregation
2200 Baltimore Road, Rockville MD 20851
Enjoy Purim 5778 at Tikvat Israel! ~ ~ ~ ~ On the Holiday, Feb. 28 - Mar. 1: ~ Wear Costumes ~ Buy Noodle Box Groggers ~ Enjoy Puppet Production at 6:30 pm - ALWAYS a hit with the kids and young at heart ~ Hear Megillah at 7:20 pm (with Shpiel interspersed) ~ Give Tzedakah ~ ~ ~ ~ On Sunday, Mar. 4: Enjoy Our Purim Carnival! visit www.tikvatisrael.org for details on all our holiday happenings
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Families, Seniors, Teens, Maryland, Conservative, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Mar
  3
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
 
Temple Shalom
8401 Grubb Road, Chevy Chase MD 20815
Dear Temple Shalom Families, We are very excited for our next First Friday Shabbat Family Service. The deadline to register for our congregational potluck is Wednesday, February 28. Please register with the names of or number of people in your party and the (vegetarian, dairy, or fish) dish you are bringing. NO MEATS OR DESSERTS PLEASE! The dish should serve at least 8 people. Also, please remember to bring serving utensils! You do not need to post your phone number or email. We encourage yo...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, GLBT, Seniors, Maryland, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Sat
Mar
  3
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
 
6601 Bradley Blvd, Bethesda MD 20817
Come and carouse with the Purimspiel Players – a musical spoof celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim. Bethesda Jewish Congregation will be way off-off-Broadway in true Sinatra style with “The Whole Megilla According to Ol Blue Eyes”. It’s BJC’s most fun event of the year and not to be missed!! Dress like you’re schmoozing with Frank, Dean and Sammy! Unleash your inner Liza! Tickets are $50 each and include dinner, drinks and entertainment. Bring your family and friends! RSVP required by...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, Maryland, Non-denominational, Fundraising/Philanthropy, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events
Event Cost:  $25 - $50; $50

 
 
Sun
Mar
  4
9:45 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Temple Shalom
8401 Grubb Road, Chevy Chase MD 20815
Purim Carnival - Costumes Encouraged! Food & Activity Tickets 4 tickets/$1 Moon Bounce Inflatable Slide Balloon Blasters Spin Art Sand Art Crafts Games Cake Walk Prize Booth Big Raffle ...and more! Purim Cafe Popcorn, Pizza, Bagels, Snacks, Drinks Bake Sale: hamantaschen & other goodies PJ Library families receive 4 free tickets!
Listed In:  Families, Maryland, Reform, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  $1 - $9; Food & Activity Tickets 4 tickets/$1

 
 
Sun
Mar
  4
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington DC (Family Engagement at the EDCJCC)
1529 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20036
When was the last time you dressed up like a queen or king? Now is your chance – the EDCJCC’s Purim Carnival is the perfect time for children and adults to dress up and celebrate this festive annual holiday! Join us for carnival games, arts & crafts, hamantaschen (yummy Purim treats), songs and a Purim play! Don't forget your costume! We will be making sandwiches for Martha’s Table and costumes for Only Make Believe, a non-profit that creates and performs interactive theatre for children in ho...
Listed In:  Families, DC, Children/Teens/Family, Fair/Expo, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events
Event Cost:  $10 - $24; $23

 


The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington proudly presents to you High Holidays: New Ideas for a New Year. No doubt there will be something in this book that will enhance your new year and bring your family joy. Whatever you choose to do, Make it Yours in 5777.